On January 9th I was invited along to take part in one of Rachel’s classes. I haven’t danced in many years, unless you call flailing about in Popworld on a Saturday night “dancing.” I jumped at the chance as I used to dance at school and really enjoyed it!
I arrived slightly early so that I could have a look around. I met Rachel’s husband Carl, who was kind enough to explain about the history of the building as well as how much they have achieved over the past 10 years.
Carl explained that the business had started 10 years ago in Peasmarsh Village Hall. When it started there were about 4 people that attended, over time this number began to grow and in 2013 Rachel found the dance studio that she is in now.
This building was built in 1886 and was originally a dance hall, however looking at the old floor plans, Rachel and Carl discovered that it was a hub for the village back in the day, with areas for coffee, reading as well as rifle training with shooting targets off the balcony.
Since moving in nearly 7 years ago, individual spaces have been created for the team to practice in. Rachel has the dance studio upstairs. Jane, who is a ballet dancer and teacher, now practices sports massage and therapy in one of the rooms, while Sharon has her own Pilates studio downstairs. Rachel’s husband Carl also uses the studio and does personal training sessions and circuits in the space.
Sports and social clubs are really struggling at the moment and it is important for them to diversify to keep alive, therefore the space downstairs is still open for darts and snooker, with a bar as well, and with Snooty’s just around the corner, Shalford really has transformed into a rural hub, with visitors from Guildford, Godalming, Cranleigh and even as far as Liphook.
From starting with 4 ballet dancers at the start of her journey, Rachel now has over 150 adults and children in the studio every week.
The class was gathered as we were about to start, there was such a variety of ages and ability and everyone was so welcoming and Rachel made everyone feel at ease, by saying she wouldn’t go too hard as it was the first week back. A dancer who hadn’t been for months arrived and they were still welcomed with open arms…literally.
Rachel is a brilliant teacher and explains how to do each routine nice and slowly so that people can grasp the moves before the music starts.
If anyone is thinking up a new hobby, or perhaps revisiting an old one, I would really recommend you go and see Rachel at We Love to Dance. I had a great lesson and it has re-lit some inspiration for me to take up dancing again.
For more information please see:
10 Station Road, Shalford, GU4 8HB